I used to really beat myself up over the way my home looked.
“I will never change”
“My husband would be happier with a woman who cleaned all the time”
“I hate cleaning, and I hate that I’m not the cleaning type”
I put so much stock into how well and how often I cleaned (which wasn’t well or often), and I constantly felt like a failure. I wanted to be a “good” homemaker; I wanted to make my husband proud.
It’s been nine years since I’ve been married and keeping a home, and I’m still the same old non-cleaner woman. However, I have learned a few things, and I’d like to share them with my younger self…and all the non-cleaners of the world who struggle with feelings of failure.
Dear Younger Self:
Your identity is not in how well or how often you clean.
The sum of who you are is not in your ability to keep the dishes off the counter and the laundry put away. You are no less or no better in God’s eyes because of how you clean. When you are His, you are beautiful and perfect because of Jesus, right now, right where you are. We submit to the Holy Spirit as He molds and changes us to be more like Jesus, and we are His, but according to eternity, we are already complete.
“For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.” Hebrews 10:14
Your identity is not in what your husband or anyone else thinks of you.
I used to believe the lie that my husband would be better off with someone who was a good cleaner. I was in so much bondage due to this lie; I felt worthless. The truth is, my husband would love it if I cleaned more/better, but he loves me and is committed to me for life. He accepts my purple boots, my sparkly grey nail polish (can a grown woman wear sparkly grey nail polish? Yes!), my driven personality, and my complete lack of Martha Stewart DNA. I care what he thinks because I love him and respect him, but we also respect each other as we grow and become. The thing is, even if my husband thought I was worthless or stupid or whatever because I didn’t clean up to a particular standard, it wouldn’t really matter because he doesn’t have the authority to tell me who I am. That authority is reserved for the throne of grace alone.
Only Jesus has the authority to tell me who I am.
You are not a slave to your personality.
I’ve got news for you love, the excuse “this is just who I am, accept it” is a selfish excuse and not fit for a woman who longs to be like Jesus. When I claim “this is me, deal with it!” I am not claiming the humility or servanthood of the One who died for all my ugly. No, that’s not the way of the cross. The way of the cross is to submit our personalities and our bents and all of the things that make us who we are, to Jesus. All of who we are is for His glory.
If you are a non-cleaner type like myself, that’s okay to know that you will never have the Martha Stewart way about you. God doesn’t love you any more or any less because of your bents. However, He does ask us to obey, to be diligent, and to be like Jesus. And so, we lay ourselves low and follow the Way.
You can choose to love well through keeping your home.
I know you don’t like to clean, you find it boring and you’d rather do almost anything else. But listen, you can love others well by creating a place of peace and beauty for those around you. You can love yourself well by taking care of your domain and giving life to it. We can create beauty out of ashes; peace out of chaos. It is kingdom work, eternal work, because love is eternal. Look at cleaning as an act of love towards yourself and those around you; Look at is as an act of worship to your God.
There is an ebb and flow of life that you will settle into.
I think the best part of being married for nine years, having children, and keeping my home is that I now understand more of who I am and that life undulates as I swim through it. I know the ups and downs, and I know that there are times of great consistency, great upheaval, and great peace. I have learned to be content with the ebb and flow of life. I know I’ll never be the go go go type of cleaner, but I also know I will care for my domain and the people in it. I will choose to maintain my home, push back on the Genesis curse, and persevere in order to love well.
It’s a good place to be when you find peace; when you accept who you are, when you quit striving, and when you give yourself to the Potter. It’s the sweet spot.
Mary Challenge: Mediate on Hebrews 10:14. Ask God for revelation on what it means for you to be complete/perfect inChrist.
Martha Challenge: Let’s get started on the kitchen. Pick five tasks you’d like to accomplish this week – make the reasonable according to your limitations. Do one of those tasks today.
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